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Outrage As 15-Year-old Dies From Smoke Inhalation During SWAT Raid That Targeted Someone Else

Brett Rosenau, 15, died during a SWAT raid at a home — Photo via PEOPLE

 

Authorities in Albuquerque announced that a multi-agency task force will open a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 15-year-old boy following a SWAT standoff at a residence on July 6, PEOPLE reported.

In a statement on Sunday, the Albuquerque Police Department said that Brett Rosenau’s body was found inside the home after the standoff ended. And preliminary autopsy results ruled the deceased teen’s cause of death as smoke inhalation. The statement also said the Office of the Medical Investigator will release a full autopsy report with toxicology and CO2 results at a later date.

Authorities said they conducted the raid to arrest a suspect who was tracked down at the home.

“In our effort to track down and arrest a violent criminal, a young person tragically lost his life,” said APD Chief Harold Medina in the statement. “I know many people in our community are hurting right now, and [we] appreciate everyone’s patience while the incident is thoroughly investigated. If any of our actions inadvertently contributed to his death, we will take steps to ensure this never happens again.”

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The suspect authorities were seeking to arrest during the home raid was identified as 27-year-old Qiaunt Kelley. APD detectives said he was wanted for violating his probation for armed carjacking and stolen vehicle charges.

“Kelley was also wanted for questioning related to the June 26, 2022, shooting death of Leonard Fresquez; an officer-involved shooting on May 5, 2022, at 7604 Central Ave., S.E. in which someone fired an automatic weapon toward officers; and a recent armed robbery being investigated by APD and federal law enforcement,” the department added in the statement.

During the standoff that lasted hours, officers used a drone to discharge powder irritants into the home in an attempt to get the people inside to exit, the statement said, adding that smoke emanated from the home afterward.

“As fire fighters arrived, Kelley exited the residence with burn injuries. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and later arrested and booked into jail overnight on his warrants. Rosenau was found deceased inside the home,” APD said.

Rosenau’s death triggered protests in the city last Thursday with people displaying “Black Lives Matter” signs, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

“No matter what the circumstances were, a boy’s life was tragically cut short, something no person or parent should experience,” Mayor Tim Keller said in the statement. “Every single life is valuable and the loss of any one is devastating to the family and the community. We share our condolences to all who know him and loved him.”

The statement also said that APD Chief Medina “acknowledged the possibility that the devices used to introduce irritants into the home may have caused the fire.”

“APD uses devices that are designed for indoor use to minimize the likelihood of igniting a fire, and no fires have been reported over the many years they have been used in Albuquerque,” the statement said.

Besides destroying the home, the fire that was allegedly caused by the APD SWAT team also left a family dog dead, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

The investigation into the fatal raid seeks to establish if officers violated any department policies. Authorities will also release body cam footage and drone imagery to the public.

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